I heard and trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound. Decay entered my bones; I trembled where I stood. Yet I must wait patiently for the day of distress to come upon the people who invade us.
horror of God; and we offer three remarks on this state of mind.
I. IT IS AN ABNORMAL STATE OF MIND. The benevolent character of God, and the moral constitution of the soul are sufficient to show that it was never intended that man should ever dread his Maker or be touched with any servile feelings in relation to him. Unbounded confidence, cheerful trust, loyal love, - these are the normal states of mind in relation to the Creator. How has the abnormal state arisen? The history of the Fall shows this, "I heard thy voice in the garden, and was afraid." Having sinned, a sense of guilt came to the conscience, and conscience under the sense of guilt invested almighty love with attributes of terror. Horror of God springs from a sense of guilt.
II. IT IS AN UNNECESSARY STATE OF MIND. God is not terrible. There is nothing in him to dread. "Fury is not in me." He is love. His voice to man:
1. In all nature is, "Be not afraid." The smiling heavens, the blooming earth, the warbling songsters of the air, in all he says to man, "Be not afraid."
2. In all true philosophy is, "Be not afraid." All things which true philosophy looks into show benevolence m intention, and breathe the genius of love.
3. In all true Christianity is, "Be not afraid." Corrupt Christianity, it is true, makes him horrific; but the Christianity of Christ reveals him in love and in love only. In Christ he comes down in man to man, and demonstrates his love.
III. IT IS A PERNICIOUS STATE OF MIND. Horror is a pernicious state of mind in every way. It is pernicious to the body. The language of the text implies this, "When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself." The prophet's alarm drove back the blood from the extremities to the heart, his flesh grew cold, contracted, his voice quivered, and his very bones seemed to rot. Horrific feeling is inimical to physical health. But dread of God is even more pernicious to soul.
1. It destroys its peace. Fear shakes every power of the soul as the winds shake the leaves of the forest.
2. It depresses its powers. All the faculties of the soul shrink and shiver under the influence of fear, as the herds of the mountain at the approaching thunderstorm.
3. It distorts its views. Fear of God gives men horrid ideas of him. It has forged all the theologies, both in heathendom and Christendom, that have frightened men. It is fear that has given men that Calvin Deity which frightens the millions away from the glorious gospel of the blessed God.
CONCLUSION. Let us preach to men the God of Christ, the God who says to all men, "It is I: be not afraid" - D.T.
And I trembled in myself.
Homilist.I. IT IS AN ABNORMAL STATE OF MIND. The benevolent character of God, and the moral constitution of the soul are sufficient to show that it was never intended that man should ever dread his Maker or be touched with any servile feelings in relation to Him. Unbounded confidence, cheerful trust, loyal love, these are the normal states of mind in relation to the Creator. How has the abnormal state arisen? The history of the Fall shows this. "I heard Thy voice in the garden and was afraid."
II. IT IS AN UNNECESSARY STATE OF MIND. God is not terrible. There is nothing in Him to dread. His voice to man —
1. In all nature is, "Be not afraid."
2. In all true philosophy. Things show benevolence of intention.
3. In all true Christianity. The Christianity of Christ reveals Him as love, and love only.
III. IT IS A PERNICIOUS STATE OF MIND. It is pernicious to the body. Horrific feeling is inimical to. physical health. But dread of God is even more pernicious to the soul.
1. It destroys its peace.
2. It depresses its powers.
3. It distorts its view.It is fear that has given men that Calvinian Deity which frightens the millions away from the glorious Gospel of the blessed God.
I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble
I. THE PRINCIPLE OF FEAR IS EXCITED BY THE SENSE OF GOD. Job said, "When I consider, I am afraid of Him." When we think wisely and thoughtfully of God we may well tremble. It is the dictate of natural religion.
II. THERE IS A USE IN THIS TREMBLING WHICH THE HOLY SPIRIT RECOGNISES. The apostle says, "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men"; and this is ever the effect of this. Fear not to paralyse. There is a wise and healthy trembling. We are often shaken by undefined terrors. There seems nothing to make us afraid; but the spirit is overwhelmed — all within us sinks. You may tremble beneath some highly wrought sermon; but this is different to trembling beneath the Spirit's touch of power.
III. WHAT IS THE ISSUE? Rest in the day of trouble. Holy fear is the guardian of the soul; it bears us into real life, into a soothed life. This trembling is a sense of the soul, the vision and knowledge of the soul, — it is all the soul, — it is within, it is ourselves. And as we tremble so we rest. Rest in the day of trouble means that a kingdom of peace is set up in our soul
(E. Paxton Hood.)1. Unfold the maxim which these words contain. Fear, excited by the threatenings of God, issues in "rest," followed by the mercies of God. As a moral proverb only this maxim is susceptible of much powerful and practical illustration. The maxim presents itself in accordance with the whole Gospel of Christ.
2. The use which the Holy Spirit makes of the threatenings of the Word — the sinner is brought to tremble in himself. It was never designed that the threatenings of the Word should seize on a man with a paralysing grasp. They were intended to subserve the purpose of solemn and salutary warning. Threatening preaching is not in general effective preaching. He who trembles beneath the Spirit's teaching, trembles in himself. It is an internal shock. There may be no outward sign. The converted man is one who must have trembled in himself.
3. The state into which such trembling conducts a sinner. There is a close connection between the " trembling" and the "resting." Let the empire of Satan be overthrown, and the empire of Christ is instantly set up. "The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." And must there not be resting then?
(Henry Melvill, B. D.)
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